In the third installment of this look at what can be done to make track more popular I'm going to suggest a means of bypassing some of the current rules of track and field so that the true performances can be appreciated. More specifically, I mean using current technology to assess the actual distance jumped and thrown and time run without regard to crossbars, foul boards, or reaction time. Here's some ideas:
- 100m times minus the reaction time. You could start everyone as normal but then display three times (the 40 yard time for football fans, the normal 100m time, and the 100m run minus the reaction time).
- A force platform or laser sensors on the runway would be used to determine the exact takeoff location in the long and triple jumps. This could then be used to determine the exact distance the performer had jumped. According to some accounts if this was in place in the 80s and 90s we'd have seen several world record marks from Mike Powell and Carl Lewis.
- A laser beam sensor system could be used for the vertical jumps to determine the highest height cleared. Laser beams would be placed at 0.02m increments (probably the smallest increment possible) on one side of the standard with a receiver on the other side. The performer would receive credit for the highest beam not broken by contact. In such a format, athletes would be given 6 (or 8, 10, whatever) attempts and they could just see how high they could clear.
- High speed video capture or laser beam sensors (much like what is used at the finish line for races) could be used to determine the exact release position in the throwing events.
These suggestions could either be used in conjunction with the current rules, replace them, or used separately. They would establish some new records for all-time best performances and could provide some variety to the sport.